If you are thinking about running while travelling, stop thinking and start planning.
Here is some easy and simple tips and advice as to why? Suggested gear to take along and how best to prepare for running while travelling. Over the last 4 years we have run through a lot of Australia and overseas, including the US, UK, Europe and even off the beaten track in South Africa and Fiji. Running in new places is enjoyable, rewarding and healthy.
- Enjoy jet lag? Neither do we, running helps you deal with it
- Want to come back larger than you left with all the airplane food and entertainment? Running will help burn the calories.
- Want some social media fodder? See sites as you've never seen them before. Share them. Get more popular!
- No time to do any sight seeing? See point 3 above.
- See landmarks and places of interest as you have never seen them before!
What you will need!
- If you can, make sure you have a light, smallish pair of running shoes. I use Mizuno Kazans (Trail shoes) for travelling given their low weight, cushioning and size compared to the Hoka Ones I normally run in. Easy to pack and lite.
- If you are running over 5kms and need to carry water, use a disposable water bottle from the hotel room, Carrying a water bottle worries you far less in a foreign country than it does when home for some reason
- Highly visible running gear. Get our your florescent tops with reflective strips if you have them. I have many a time stepped into the road, looking the wrong way in Europe and the US and nearly been hit by cars driving on the "wrong" side of the road.
- Running glasses. Force of habit. I use Oakleys with clear glass, even at night. They protect the eyes from any branches, umbrellas or other potential hazards and from hassles you really dont need while away.
- Spibelt or similar. Carry a spare credit card and some cash. You never know. Also ensures you dont lose the card to open your hotel door.
Travel running tips:
- Plan your runs around meetings, flights and other events. Morning is usually best given meetings run late or turn into social events in many cases.
- Check out the local neighbourhood. We recommend the Footpath running app for this. Free simple and easy mapping solution using Google Maps and allowing you to see where roads and paths go, the distance and also to save your runs.
- Memorise key road names before you leave and the general direction as well as any landmarks.
- Try find a nearby park. Usually possible in most cities. Trying to run across roads and busy intersections is not practical or enjoyable. Too many little back roads generally means you get lost and frustrated
- Try and include some major landmarks on the route. Makes it more interesting.
- Ask at reception about running in the area. In South Africa and the US I nearly ran into a high risk part of town which looked perfectly good on Footpath. Catch a train or a cab a short distance to get to the run if you have to.
- Check out the weather, temperature in the morning and sunset and sunrise. Plan your runs and your clothing around these.
- Try to avoid running in the dark or off the main routes in the dark, especially if you are female. Just not worth the risk.
- Take your smart phone with or a GPS enabled watch with "Trackback" like the Garmins have allowing you return to where you started. This has come in handy in London and in Fiji on a road at Twilight where each turnoff started to look the same. GPS watches obviously don't need data which can be expensive when overseas.
- Take some pics with your phone. Unlikely you will do a PB on a new route ina foreign country so take some memories.
- Due to space, taking numerous running outfits can be difficult. I have found rinsing immediately after running, generally gives the clothes enough time to dry if hung over a heated towel rack or in front of the heater for the next day and I can get about 3 runs odd without a proper wash before they become too rank and disgusting. It goes without saying, use fresh underwear.
- Let the concierge or front desk know where you are going if you are concerned about safety. Just make sure you tell them when you are back.
- Try and be fit enough to run at least 3 kms to make this worthwhile. I find around 5-10km runs are best for travelling.
Running in the morning ensures you see many sights as many very seldom see them. Below are some pics from recent runs, deserted early in the morning. If you are not fit enough find a personal trainer or running coach to start your journey.
Pics from Rome, Paris and Venice to prove the point. The early bird sees no tourists:
Ever seen the Spanish Stairs in Rome empty? You will at 6:30am.
Ever seen the Square in Venice looking like Ghost town? Go running early and you may!
Ever seen the Tulleries Gardens in Paris this quiet. Very few have...
Hope you find this useful. Next time you go travelling, have some fun, see some sights but remember the 5 P's. Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance! Enjoy.
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